The Legal, Constitutional Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations Committee of the Council of Governors has held a consultative meeting with key stakeholders in the legal sector in a bid to ensure there is a conducive environment for the implementation of the Constitution with inclination towards devolution.
To ensure there is a vibrant legal sector that supports the implementation of the 2010 Constitution, cognizance of the devolved functions, working together and delivering as one, the stakeholders came up with resolutions to deliver the course.
Addressing the media in Mombasa Council of Governor Chairman for Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee Mutula Kilonzo Jr said that justice actors shall work together towards strengthening good governance, accountability and transparency for all actors in the government.
Kilonzo said these include capacity building and joint resources mobilization strategies noting that county executive and the assembly shall work towards enhancing intergovernmental relations for the growth of county governments.
He added that the Commission on Administrative Justice (CAJ) and the Senate shall work collaboratively to create an enabling policy and legislative environment to make devolution work as intended by the Kenyan Constitution.
The Makueni governor said the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) shall support the sensitization and capacity building of county government officials on corruption risks and struggling system analysis.
“The CoG shall work collaboratively with the Judiciary to legalise standardized models for the construction of courts in counties. This will enable counties to work towards the provision of adequate land for the same and ensure access to justice,” he said.
He noted that the county governments and the Judiciary shall continue to hold discussions on how to deal with the funds and fees arising out of breach of county laws.
According to Kilonzo, CAJ will support county governments to domesticate access to information laws, establish grievance redress mechanisms and automate the same.
“Additionally the Council of Governors, CAJ and Kenya Law Reform Commission (KLRC) shall develop a model law on the establishment of the office of the county ombudsman,” he added.
The group has also resolved that CoG and KLRC continuously work together to audit and review laws and ensure there are no drawbacks to devolution. Further, the policy on devolved system of government shall be reviewed to address the present realities on devolution in the country.
The week-long retreat has incorporated all the county governments’ attorneys alongside key agencies of the government and other non-state actors to execute the agenda items.
The governor said there is a need to engage the key government stakeholders’ to help governors run their devolved function effectively.
He noted that the counties owe the National Treasury four months arrears amounting to Sh97 billion that is said to have derailed service delivery.
He said the disbursement of the counties is now in November and only 16 counties have been listed for allocation.
Kilonzo said that the government’s failure to release money on time has made it extremely difficult for the county bosses to allocate resources for development.
“In order to have our staff continue offering services, governors have made sure to continue paying salaries with the little money we have,” he said.
He said the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act 2012 requires the National Treasury to disburse funds to counties on the 15th day of every month without undue delay.
He further urged the national government to comply and release the money in unison saying right now the list is random as there is no formula as to how the money is released.
By Chari Suche